My April Fool was no Fool
Apart from Friday the 1st April 2016 being April Fool’s day and seeing that Nigel Farage had changed his mind about leaving the EU, nothing much was different until at 1.15pm I was tying to take down a telephone number from a client wanting a floor sanding appointment.
Several times I tried than my speech went crazy. Don’t worry this was just April Fools and someone had slipped me a large whiskey in my coffee.
I turned to my two colleagues Peter and Alan and then started babbling in a incoherent way. I know at that point that there was something wrong and just put it down to stress.
My wife Eleanor was called and immediately and ambulance was called. When the fast response was called they thought I had had a minor stroke, a TIA, and was immediately taken by ambulance to Chester Grosvenor Hospital.
The classic TIA was detected and at 5pm was sent home with blood thinning tablets and an appoint for a head scan on the following Monday at 10.30am.
The blood thinning pills given to me must have reacted as at 9pm that night before I went to bed I started speaking gibberish again and Eleanor phone 999 for the general test about trying to remember a small poem. Words confused the paramedics arrived then an ambulance to hospital. Although put into a cubicle right way the typical TIA was identified however they felt this was unusual. At 1pm after an evening of entertainment listening to the drunks ‘trying’ to have some treatment, Eleanor went home and I was transferred to the Stroke Ward for the evening.
One important thing I see now, is that I had had for the last six months, pains in my both arms and after examination with my GP’s I was sent to physio therapy but how hard I worked at this, the pain never disappeared. Normally very fit I also found it more difficult to get out of the car, a bit stiff. You may find the significance of this at a later date?
Saturday 2nd April
I was sent for a CT scan on the head and was later told by the doctor that they had spotted fluid on the brain with a mass behind it. This was on my left had side where it was putting pressure on my speech and memory brain area. As you can imagine this was devastating to Eleanor and I and my whole life changed at this point.
Sunday 3rd April
After a sleepless night in a ward next to poor Brian who unlike myself was bedbound and with tubes coming out of my stomach, I was sent for a head MRI scan. This showed in details that indeed there was a tumor there and the next. It is amazing to see how your whole life passes in front of you. You think of all the times wasted, the times where work overtook family and such a waste. You try to balance this with the people dying throughout the world, the young children with brain tumour or other horrible diseases and they have, unlike me, had a wonderful life so far at the age of sixty two.
Monday 4th April
One problem could be that the tumour had spread with secondary’s to the rest of the body. I had always eaten well, never smoked was, to intense and purposes ‘fit’.
The CT scan was then carried out and we were not told the news until meeting with the surgeon at Walton Hospital Liverpool on the Thursday. This was a nerve racking wait as I knew that the tumour was bad enough but to have cancer in the main body would further complicate the issue.
I am ashamed of the way in which I have become so weak emotionally. The worst part is when people wish you the bevy best and you know they are thinking of you. Or just seeing the family and looking at their faces knowing that you will have limited time to enjoy them.
Eleanor has been my strength and together we are getting tougher and making plans for what time we might have. Even just sitting quietly or watching TV together, or taking the dogs for a walk is immensely important.
Tuesday 5th April
Another night in hospital and I got to know two people who influenced my thoughts.
One was Peter who at seventy five looks a lot younger. Peter was Dutch but was married to a Slovakian lady and indeed lived there. We was a top consultant working at Capenhurst as a project manager. He was a lover of life and a great conversationalist. I had to touch on the EU as normal and the state of affairs in the world however Peter was a calming effect on me and helped me a great deal.
The other man was Philip at the end of the six bed room. Philip was in for the sixth time with liver disease and when you looked at him he was yellow all over. At first I was not keen on him but I had a problem with my computer and asked Philip if he could help. He loaded on all the TV programmes for me and then he told me his sad story of drink and his simple life with his children who he loved. Even all the possibilities of having good health Philip would indeed return for more visits to the hospital, I am sure. The next day when he was being discharged, he had booked a night in a log cabin for him and the children and this simple pleasure was so important to him.
I hope and pray that he finds the strength from somewhere.
Wed 6th April
Another night in the hospital and I was now finding my way round the place. Loved speaking to the porters, found the staff canteen and indeed managed to get the staff 30% discount . All in all the hospital food was fantastic. Sponge pudding and custard my favorite.
Awaiting to be discharged the doctor came to let us know that we would not know the full body tests until Walton and this added to the pressure however at least we were moving forward.
Eleanor came to get me and it was sad to leave Philip, Peter and the staff who were fabulous. Crazy to say that but my mind was in a haze indeed I was crazy!
One thing not mentioned so far was my feeling for my mother, dad, sister and family in Scotland. The decision to let them know the situation and how much to let them know was difficult. I knew how devastated they would be and this was heavy on my mind. My sister was so kind in speaking to them and then I had the change to fill them in further. Their frustration at not being with me would I know be difficult and for my mother who could not travel, even worse.
When I get into surgery I am going to ask the surgeon to turn off my ‘cry’ button.
Friday 8th April
And only a week since the problem occurred and Eleanor and I made an effort to be normal for the day. Walking the dogs, sitting watching TV and just being together.
Also went for haircut and tried out lunch at The Stick Walnut in Hoole,Chester. Lovely place but main was like a starter, good but I will not go back.
Also had visit to health food shop, had a great conversation which I will take you through later.
For someone who was a workaholic, I had totally forgotten about my business which was now in the capable hands of Fraser my son and ,sorry for the extra pressure, Elaine my daughter who just gave birth to her first daughter 8 weeks previous, Eriska.
I know they will cope together with the wonderful staff who that the future successes is their future.
In the evening Eleanor and I babysat to Fraser’s to let him and his wife, Melisa go to Manchester to see Muse. Great chance to catch up with, nearly three years old, Murray and my sweetheart Madison who had organised a new game to play which was complicated so she made up her own rules. Again!
Saturday 9th April
Discovered a fabulous cafe to eat lunch in Mold just 20 mins from the house. Amazing how you find these places although recommended by Elaine who is the connoisseur of food. Had to tidy up the garden and bought a beautiful hydrangea for the front.
This is a great stopping off point when we go to Loggerheads for a walk.
Went into Lidl supermarket and stocked on fillet steak and goodies. Amazing value. I think I am getting Eleanor convinced.
Sunday 10th April
Family arriving for Brunch at 10.30 but I know they will be late. Eleanor keeps burning the tattie scones and sausages. Her mind is obviously somewhere else. I tidy up the garden and prepare the ‘high up’ decking fort hem to arrive. The weather is lovely and I am always happy up on the decking as I see over the fields to my favorite oak in the distance. My mind keeps thinking that would be a good place for my ashes helping that beautiful tree to continue it’s long life.
For the really first time I 100% appreciated the whole family and the three grandchildren being all together. Murray keeps tripping on the rugs but he has a head like iron, Madison being Madison and Eriska being angelic as normal. I am so proud of the perfect setting headed by Eleanor with her great strength and compassion.
We all head to the park and view the allotment which I had only given up thank god. I wondered why I spent so much time trying to create a market garden which no one would eat due to slimy creatures.
When everyone goes, I get quite emotional as I realize what I am missing and it is always harder just at the end. I wish I could get rid of this urge to weep but it keeps coming back.
Monday 11th April
Waiting to go into hospital and will have confirmation of a time to get my bed fixed out.
My sister Linda or Oor Linda and my Dad will be making their way to Ayr station for their trip to see me and Linda has rented an apartment in Liverpool City near the Birkenhead Tunnel. This is good as Eleanor will be able to stay a few nights with them and saves them driving back and forth.
Today I go through some papers, which I must confess I am not the most organized with but constantly I just want to tidy, tidy and tidy.
Eleanor nips off to take French Bulldog Wee Joe and Pug the famous Hugo, to the kennels. Under-floor heating areas for them, only the best. They are great company I love them although Joe has fear aggression and can be a wee bugger.
At 2pm head off for Walton and get settled in to the ward. Got a bed in the corner and everyone is no nice. I start to organize my ‘pitch’ and just chill out.
At 6.30pm Eleanor brings up Bob and Linda and it is great to see them. I know everyone is trying to hold things together but I see the thoughts of my dad and we keep talking about anything which is away from emotional things. Linda is quite strong and is holding together well so far. She has been investigating the later stages if operation OK and is talking about India and European Countries who are looking at brain tumor investigations.
At 8pm they go and I get settled in by watching SKY on the computer. The Tunnel. It is good but the volume quite low. The story around politics and the Euro Tunnel which means I get a bit of French feeling which inspires me to make the trip by train to Nice soon. I said to Eleanor we could leave Chester railway station at 9.30am and arrive in Nice before midnight with my friend Maxim ready to take us to the apartment.
My mind keeps putting me on that train travelling through France drinking a glass of lovely chilled Rose and some oilves.
Didn’t sleep well but was not uncomfortable grateful for everything.
Tuesday 12th April
The Big Day
Woke up after snooze to get the regular blood pressure etc and then told I would need showering and changing into the big pants and stockings. Feel nice and clean ready for theater. I have two consultants anesthetists come to speak to me and explain the risks and complications. Hopefully if all is well, I will wake up but when that needle goes in and you start counting backwards it is down to the skill of the ‘team’.